Updated: Friday, 29th May 2020 @ 6:20am

Disgraced Manchester policeman jailed after planting shotgun in man’s car in exchange for cash

Disgraced Manchester policeman jailed after planting shotgun in man’s car in exchange for cash

By Danielle Wainwright

A former Manchester police officer who planted a shotgun in a car in exchange for money has been jailed today for four years.

Daniel Withnell, 31, of Cranark Close, Heaton, Bolton, was sentenced for misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice and was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court Crown Square.

Claire Smethurst, 49, of Hatherlow Court, Westhoughton was sentenced on October 9 to perverting the course of justice and was given 15 months imprisonment in prison suspended for two years. 

Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said: "The conduct of former DC Daniel Withnell fell well short of what is expected of a police officer.

"Police officers, staff and the communities of Greater Manchester would be appalled by his actions, which detract from the hard work that our officers and staff do on a daily basis.”

The incident occurred between September 30 and October 30 2012 when Withnell offered to plant a shotgun in a car belonging to a man for Smethurst in exchange for £19,000. 

A few months earlier Withnell was given information on a police investigation and drafted a charging advice form pretending to be a lawyer from the CPS in relation to a £500,000 money laundering investigation. 

He gave advice that the offences under investigation should either be discontinued or subject of lesser charges. This was then sent on to a friend of the person subject of the criminal investigation.

In March this year, Withnell sent an anonymous text message to a fellow officer indicating a hit man had been paid to kill him – even though these details were false. 

Assistant CC Copley added: "GMP expects the very highest standards of all its officers and staff. They should be honest and act with integrity and should not compromise or abuse their position. 

"As soon as this conduct came to light, the Professional Standards Branch carried out a thorough investigation, supervised by the IPCC and as a result Mr Withnell has been convicted of two counts of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice and Ms Smethhurst has been convicted of perverting the course of justice." 

Picture courtesy of publik15 via Flickr, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.